It feels like you can barely go a week without hearing another story of a fan-created work being shut down by the company that owns the IP being emulated. Here's the way things usually go: a cease and desist letter is sent to the fan as a sort of warning, the offending material is removed, and the issue is resolved. Unfortunately for Ramar Larkin Jones – a massive Pokémon fan – things didn't go over quite so smoothly.
Jones manages a small café in Seattle and was formerly a Pokémon fanatic. For the past five years, he's held the "Unofficial Pokémon PAX Kickoff Party" at his café; a party that played host to a slew of Pokémon themed giveaways, music, and a Super Smash Bros. tournament. There was a $2 admission fee that went towards a DJ and the giveaways, but conflict between Jones and the Pokémon Company arose when he made posters for the event that prominently featured Pikachu and Snivy. Jones immediately cancelled the party when he received word of the lawsuit, but the Pokémon Company was resolute in its goals and a Washington judge has just ruled that Jones now owes the Pokémon Company $4,000 in damages.
Speaking to Motherboard about the issue, Jones said
I can't pay it. I manage a cafe, and cost of living is super expensive in Seattle. I am hoping I can try to pay it over the course of a year, because I simply want to be done with it.
Though the total amount was reduced slightly, his appeal for a payment plan was later denied by the Pokémon Company and Jones now has forty five days to pay up. In an effort to try and fund raise, Jones set up a GoFundMe account which you can find here.
What do you think of the Pokémon Company's decision? Is this a justified course of action or do you think it's a bit heavy handed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.